Settlement on Wage Surveys Won't Affect Harvard Practices

An August settlement between the Attorney General and a Boston group which provides wage information to area corporations, including Harvard, has had little effect on University employee practices, Harvard officials said yesterday.

The agreement ended a three-year investigation of the Boston Survey Group (BSG), a collective of 34 corporations who meet biannually to publish wage surveys.

Nine to Five, a non-profit organization for working women which initiated the investigation, had charged that BSG's "wage collusion" has an adverse effect on wages in Boston.

"What concerned us was the possibility that the BSG may be exchanging information to set wages," Nancy Snyder, staff director for Nine to Five, said this week.

Snyder blamed practices like the BSG's for low salaries and lack of opportunities for secretaries and clerical workers in the Boston area.


But Howard Fuguet, the BSG's attorney, denied yesterday that the surveys are used to set wages.

"There was no finding that what has been done is a violation of anti-trust laws." Fuguet said.

Under the settlement, the BSG must for the first time publish a list of its participating members--among them Harvard, MIT. Boston University, Boston Edison and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Companies may publish wages only in the aggregate, rather than individually, and not for any position with fewer than ten employees.

The settlement also-permits individual companies to release survey information to employees if they wish to Previously, all BSG members were "sworm to secrecy," according to Edward W Powers, associate general counsel for employee relations at Harvard.

However, the decision "won't cause any trouble" for Harvard, Powers said yesterday.

"The BSG is only one way in which we get information about what other companies are paying, and most of that information is public," he added.

Still, Snyder called the settlement a significant step "It's one step further towards making large corporation accountable and more vulnerable to employee groups like Nine to Five," she said.